Sept 21 - Clashes erupt at West Bank checkpoints as tensions rise ahead of the Palestinian bid for statehood at the U.N. Simon Hanna reports.
Tension rises in the West Bank ahead of the Palestinian bid for statehood at the U.N. Clashes broke out at a check point at the edge of Ramallah, where Israeli troops fired tear gas at stone throwing Palestinian youths. This Palestinian man suffered an eye injury and had to be carried away from the scene of the conflict. In Hebron too, clashes erupted between young Palestinians and Israeli forces. Largely peaceful rallies backing the bid took place across the West Bank. The demonstrations are a show of support for Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas who is in New York where he plans to seek endorsement for Palestinian statehood. (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) CAMPAIGNER FOR PALESTINIAN UN STATEHOOD BID, MOHAMMAD EL MASRI: "This rally is to send a message to the world that the Palestinian people stand as one behind the President Mahmoud Abbas' bid. We are with the direction of the leadership to head to the Security Council, in order to get an international recognition for the state of Palestine." Israelis were split on their response to the move. (SOUNDBITE) (English) TEL AVIV RESIDENT DAVID BARAM: "I think it's a legitimate move. We have done the same in '48. I think they are entitled to do the same for them. I think it's a fair political game." (SOUNDBITE) (English) SHARON KATZ, RESIDENT OF EFRAT: "I know Mahmoud Abbas wants to declare a Palestinian state, but I think if you ask any of the Arabs that live around here they would really rather live under a Jewish state. They like coming to our medical offices, they like coming to our banks, they like coming to our social services, and I think they like living in a Jewish state." After decades of failed peace talks, Palestinians are hoping to establish a state in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip - territory captured by Israel in 1967. But Israel has strongly discouraged the U.N. bid, and the U.S. has signalled its intention to use its veto to block the move. Simon Hanna, Reuters.